Sean Carroll responds to this NYT article, which I posted a couple of days ago, in Cosmic Variance:
A recent essay in the New York Times by Dennis Overbye has managed to attract quite a bit of attention around the internets — most of it not very positive. It concerns a recent paper by Holger Nielsen and Masao Ninomiya (and some earlier work) discussing a seemingly crazy-sounding proposal — that we should randomly choose a card from a million-card deck and, on the basis of which card we get, decide whether to go forward with the Large Hadron Collider. Responses have ranged from eye-rolling and heavy sighs to cries of outrage, clutching at pearls, and grim warnings that the postmodernists have finally infiltrated the scientific/journalistic establishment, this could be the straw that breaks the back of the Enlightenment camel, and worse.
Since I am quoted (in a rather non-committal way) in the essay, it’s my responsibility to dig into the papers and report back. And my message is: relax! Western civilization will survive. The theory is undeniably crazy — but not crackpot, which is a distinction worth drawing. And an occasional fun essay about speculative science in the Times is not going to send us back to the Dark Ages, or even rank among the top ten thousand dangers along those lines.